Politics & Policy

Gun-Rights Group to Sue Trump Administration Over Bump-Stock Ban

A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, October 4, 2017. (George Frey/REUTERS)

Gun Owners of America, a pro-gun-rights political-advocacy organization, announced Tuesday that it will file a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks, which was announced just hours earlier.

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker issued a final rule change Tuesday that expanded the definition of an illegal machine gun under federal law to include devices that, when affixed to semi-automatic weapons, increase their rate of fire to mimic that of a fully automatic weapon.

Individuals in possession of bump stocks have 90 days to destroy or turn them over to law enforcement before the amended regulation takes effect.

“As written, this case has important implications for gun owners since, in the coming days, an estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property — or else risk felony prosecution,” Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America executive director, said in a statement.

The rule change reverses a 2010 determination by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officials that bump stocks could not be prohibited under the 1934 federal law outlawing machine guns. Those officials ruled that Congress would have to pass separate legislation if they wanted the devices outlawed.

“ATF’s claim that it can rewrite Congressional law cannot pass legal muster. Agencies are not free to rewrite laws under the guise of ‘interpretation’ of a statute, especially where the law’s meaning is clear,” Pratt added.

The bump stock, a previously obscure device known only to gun enthusiasts, was thrust to the center of the national gun-control debate in October 2017 after Stephen Paddock used a number of them to carry out the deadliest mass shooting America’s history.

Paddock murdered 58 concertgoers from his perch in a Las Vegas hotel room and was later found dead by suicide, surrounded by 23 rifles, 14 of which were fitted with bump stocks.

Most Popular


Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More
Politics & Policy

On Painting Air Force One

And so it has come to this. Two oil tankers were just attacked in the Gulf of Oman, presumably by Iran. The United States and China are facing off in a confrontation that is about far more than trade. The southern border remains anarchic and uncontrolled. And Congress is asking: “Can I get the icon in ... Read More